UKC's favourite rock star Franco Cookson has finally, after two years of effort, completed his 'Mono Wall Project' on Danby Crag in the North York Moors. Franco would like to thank Sam Marks, Jake Hampshire, Matt Ferrier, Dave Warburton for their efforts in helping him toward his big ascent.
He's added the route to the UKC Logbooks and estimated the grade to be around E10 7a. Franco thinks the initial crux sequence is around Font 8A in bouldering terms, and the route finishes with an easier but more dangerous upper section.
UKC Logbook Description:
"Fierce climbing up the overhanging wall on littlefinger monos and very little for the feet, with a crux reflexing onto the vertical headwall above. Not one to fall off."
The route, now called Psykovsky's Sequins is a short sandstone solo. It has a bad landing and no protection, and features difficult climbing on finger wrenching pinky-mono holds. Franco did spend some time researching specialist gear to see if he could find a piece that would fit in one of the mono holds, but to no avail.
We chatted to Franco about the route and he said:
"You can invent what I said if you like, as long as you make it funny! And please mention that Sam Marks, Dave Warburton, Matt Ferrier and Jake Hampshire all played an essential part in the ascent, as with all Moors new routes."
Franco is no stranger to esoteric weird climbing on the North York Moors, having made several hard first ascents in the area, including The Hypocrisy of Moose (E8?) - see UKC News.
He's also seen exactly what can happen when it all goes wrong, taking a 20m groundfall in an attempt to climb the E6 7a O'Gradey's Incurable Itch without using the siderunners.
See this video:
Already Franco's new route has caused a stir on the UKC Forums, with regular user Andy Farnell publicly doubting the grade of E10:
"I see that a new E10 has been claimed on the N. Yorks moors by Franco. What is he basing grade on? A slew of repeats of E8,9 and 10's around the country? A confirmed history of hard sport and blocs? If the route gets repeated by a known was and the grade confirmed, I'll believe it. Until then..."
Regardless of the grade, the route looks like a short and intense experience, and has taken Franco two years of effort to climb, and that sort of motivation is impressive - well done Franco!
Franco Cookson is supported by Andrea Boldrini
More info and photos on Franco's Climbing Blog